Saturday, November 28, 2009
From Hollywood, The Heart of the Entertainment World...The Hollywood Palace!!!!!
For seven television seasons, from 1964 to 1970, that high voltage introduction , sonorously voiced by veteran announcer Dick Tufeld, heralded the opening of ABC-TV's classic variety show, THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE.
Starting as a Saturday night, mid-season replacement, when THE JERRY LEWIS SHOW was cancelled in 1963, THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE showcased an eclectic array of the world's most talented, musical/comedy/variety performers ,and enlisted the most famous faces in showbiz to serve as one of the weekly,rotating hosts.
Bing Crosby, Dean Martin , Steve Allen, Diana Ross, Perry Como and Phyllis Diller were among the luminaries to headline on the stage at 1735 N. Vine Street in Los Angeles.
This clip offers an old school, megawatt, comic confrontation that yields major laughter.
Imagine two consummate,Borscht-Belt comedians, who were boyhood friends,and grew to be show business icons, reunited for a rapid-fire redux of a tried and true vaudeville routine: The Heckler In A Box.
Milton Berle was famous for fighting back against any hapless aggressor who challenged him at center stage.
Henny Youngman was comedy's acknowledged king of the one liners,and had a joke for every occasion.
Together, they brought precision comedic timing to rival a tuning fork, a vast reservoir of rancorous retorts, and an explosive energy that blasts through the screen.
Here is a rare excerpt of THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE from the GARYKASKEL YOU TUBE site.Enjoy!!!!!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
TURKEY DAY GIVE AWAY FLYS AGAIN, TODAY - PERENNIAL HOLIDAY FUN FROM THE ORIGINAL WKRP IN CINCINNATI - CBS-TV - CIRCA 10/30/78
"AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I THOUGHT TURKEYS COULD FLY!"
Arthur Carlson, General Manager, WKRP in Cincinnati
Was it a matter of murder , most fowl, or did somebody drop the (butter)ball?
It's a Thanksgiving tale of airborn, poultry-cide that dates back three decades.
The 1978-1979 Prime Time Network Schedule offered a golden season, of sorts, for situation comedy. Some shows were smart and some were sentimental, but all took devoted viewers minds off of a difficult economy, gas rationing, cold war threats, Middle East hostilities and the onslaught of DISCO MUSIC.
The five most watched series of that season were family oriented favorites: LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, HAPPY DAYS ,MORK & MINDY, THREE'S COMPANY and ANGIE. They filled ABC-TV's Tuesday night schedule with charming tales of laughter and love. All, but THREE'S COMPANY, bore the nostalgic imprimatur of celebrated writer/producer Garry Marshall.
Norman Lear was the acknowledged, "Alpha" producer of 1970's situation comedy with ALL IN THE FAMILY, GOOD TIMES, and ONE DAY AT A TIME winning viewers , critical praise and myriad awards for CBS-TV.
BARNEY MILLER, SOAP, TAXI, RHODA and the venerable M.A.S.H., the latter of which sprung from the vibrant mind of the late, Larry Gelbart,offered big laughs and were rewarded with big audiences.
But one unique, workplace-based, situation comedy ,from the agile mind of writer/producer Hugh Wilson ,came to the Tiffany Network's Monday night line-up in the fall of 1978, and proved to be a critical success that would earn a fond place in the hearts and minds of a loyal audience.
America fell in love with WKRP IN CINCINNATI and its eclectic, multi-talented cast. The series took us behind the scenes, and behind the microphone, at a forlorn, family owned, Ohio radio outlet as it moved away from a moribund, beautiful music format in hopes of becoming a rebellious, flame-throwin', blowtorch of a rock radio station.
The audience enjoyed the fast and furious comic dialogue, the strong sense of story in each episode, the complex, honest relationships among the characters and the crystal clear reflection of American society that was satirically showcased in each hilarious installment.
While former-soap idol, Gary Sandy,and future MAYTAG repairman, Gordon Jump , portraying WKRP's proactive Music Director and Mom-dominated General Manager, respectively, were the ostensible stars of the show, there was a true ensemble cast. The audience instantly embraced the voluptuous, vamp essayed by Loni Anderson, and the ironic, iconoclast DJ played by Tim Reid. Jan Smithers was the bookish,innocent, production assistant who was enthralled with life at the radio station.Both Smithers and Anderson quickly found themselves to be the focus of laser-hot, adolescent, male attention.
On college campuses and in neighborhood bars, young men often posed the high stakes, high voltage,WKRP IN CINCINNATI querie ," Who do you prefer,Jennifer (Loni Anderson's incendiary blond ) or Bailey ( Jan Smither's comely brunette)?" For the record,and with no disrespect to Jennifer, KINESCOPE HD is Pro-Bailey:)
Richard Sanders scored with viewers portraying the prickly newsman, Les Nessman, as did Frank Bonner, portraying garish sales manager Herb Tarlick. Respected improviser and actor Howard Hesseman did a star turn as strident, drug addled,world weary Disc Jockey,Dr. Johnny Fever.
What was, arguably, the best episode of WKRP IN CINCINNATI, aired Monday, October 30, 1978 on CBS-TV at 8:00pm EST. The storyline looked ahead to Thanksgiving and how WKRP radio would grow ratings and better connect with the audience in the Holiday season, by doing a turkey drop from the station's helicopter.
Created by Hugh Wilson, written by Bill Dial, and directed by Michael Zinberg,here is that entire episode from the HULU video on demand site. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!
As a bonus clip, here are WKRP IN CINCINNATI'S Tim Reid ( Super cool, DJ Venus Fly Trap ) and Richard Sanders ( Ultra-Nerd, Newsman Les Nessman ) in a 1979 appearance on Paramount's, syndicated, music series, SOLID GOLD, with hosts Dionne Warwick and Glen Campbell.Enjoy!!!!!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
JAZZ LUMINARIES LIGHT UP THE TUBE - VINTAGE VIDEO OF DIZZY GILLESPIE & LALO SCHRIFFRIN - CIRCA LATE 1950'S
While the origin of this vintage video is unclear, the pedigree is pure Jazz. The clip features the incomparable Dizzy Gillespie performing with the prolific composer Lalo Schriffin on what appears to be a classic episode of NBC's vibrant , B&W examination of the truly American, musical art form, called THIS IS JAZZ.
Schriffin's legacy on the silver and small screens is, both, impressive and imposing. On television, he scored the emphatic, exotic notes that ignited every installment of CBS's MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and the elegant jazz waltz that heralded the daring adventures of CBS's MANNIX. Schiffrin also penned the tense,sparse strains of the 1966 film, COOL HAND LUKE, that went on to become the signature for EYEWITNESS NEWS on the ABC Owned & Operated Television Stations.
Philadelphia's John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie all but wrote the genetic code for the brassy alloy of African, Latin and Caribbean rhythms that achieved jazz primacy in the 1950's, called BE-BOP.
In the Scholastic Aptitude Test of American culture,Gillespie is to jazz ,as William Paley is to television : a founding father.
This electrifying performance is from the ALDOSOUNDS68 site on YOU TUBE and the mystery of its origin is as seductive as the visceral allure of the music it showcases. Enjoy!!!!!!
As a bonus, here is an April 24, 2006 recording of Lalo Schriffrin performing his pulsating theme to Mission Impossible in the UK with the BBC Big Band. Enjoy!!!!!
Friday, November 13, 2009
A Bunny's Tale - Rare Behind the Scenes Video with a 60's Pop Culture Icon - CBC Archives - Circa 1966
In the turbulent, tawdry 1960's,THE ALL-AMERICAN, PLAYBOY BUNNY was positioned in the glossy pages of decadent, daring Playboy Magazine as indigenous wildlife in the smoke-filled, jazz infused, sexually charged nightclubs that Hugh M. Hefner, Playboy's founder and publisher, opened around the globe.
For repressed, working class males , the upstanding men who survived the Great Depression and who fought for victory in World War Two, the Playboy Bunny was the living logo of the 1960's sexual revolution.The Playboy Club, Hefner's high voltage chain of hipster bistros was romanticized as as the proving ground for new weapons in the war of the sexes.
Here, men fantasized about gland to gland combat.
But in principle and practice The Playboy Bunnies were, by and large, conscientious objectors, where the customers were concerned.
As the first wave of feminism emerged and gained attention , in the 1960's, many socially,culturally,and professionally empowered women decried the Playboy Bunny, and the philosophy from which it was contrived , as a key propagator of personal objectification and sexual subjugation.
The Playboy Bunny was, in the end, a casualty of the sexual revolution and the attendant, feminist awakening.
But, like so many who survive a prolonged battle, things were never the same for Playboy , again
While, it's always hard to stop Bunnies from multiplying, The Playboy Clubs of the randy, rockin' 1960's didn't survive to the materially-focused, sexually inhibited 1990's.
But in the mid to late-2000's, with America developing a retrograde fascination for all things RATPACK, the return of 1960'S suavity that was prompted by MADMEN on AMC and Hefner's own cable series, the giddy, GIRLS NEXT DOOR on E!, at least, the image of the Playboy Bunny was back in vogue.
In Las Vegas, the opulent Palms Hotel opened the first, new Playboy Club in decades.Every night,The Playboy Bunny logo smiles down on the Vegas strip,now. A leering and lascivious landmark in a city built on sex and gambling.In the end, they are deeply similar pursuits, where people never really understand the risk, because they so crave reward. There is a new chapter written in This Bunny's Tale, every night.
From the CBC Archive, we have found a short and revealing (albeit, G-Rated:) interview with a Playboy Bunny, who takes you behind the scenes of the Toronto Playboy Club ,while sharing secrets of the Bunny Sisterhood. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 9, 2009
A CRACK IN THE WALL BRINGS LIGHT TO EAST GERMANY - RARE CLIP OF NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH TOM BROKAW- NBC -TV - CIRCA NOVEMBER , 9 1989
The wall dividing East and West Berlin seemed indestructible to those who watched it built in 1961, designed to serve as a brick and mortar manifestation of the differences between between communism and capitalism, freedom and fear.
For decades, many politically aware observers thought it would take an act of war between global superpowers to reduce this acrid symbol of repression to rubble.
But, on the night of November 9, 1989, it was the sheer, cyclonic force of human will and determination that brought down the blood-stained barrier,which had divided Berlin for 28 years.
Television allowed the world to share in this electrifying moment of triumph.
Here is a rare look back at the exuberant images delivered, via satellite, to fascinated, engaged viewers across this country by the only American,news anchor present in West Berlin,that night, Tom Brokaw on NBC NIGHTLY NEWS. enjoy!!!!!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
One of the cold war's hottest television shows, wasn't a taught drama about the delicate balance of military might between nuclear superpowers, but a raucus, khaki clad, comedy about the Army's most dangerous weapon : a cunning, non-com, con man who could liberate all of the cash that any unsuspecting target had in his wallet.
On September 20, 1955, at 8:30pm Eastern Time,CBS-TV introduced America to quick witted, fast talking, Army M/Sgt, Ernie Bilko,and his company of comic co-conspirators.
In a military sitcom called YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH , the was almost instantly retitled,THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW, the balding , bespectacled comedian found the role of a lifetime, playing Bilko. He was the scheming head of the motor pool unit at the fictional , Fort Baxter in Roseville , Kansas.
A star in nightclubs, vaudeville, radio and on Broadway, Silvers had only moderate success in films, usually cast as a secondary character who provided comic relief in a musical or drama. The role of Ernie Bilko on television made him a national sensation and the persona he crafted to portray the crafty, kinetic character was his trademark for the balance of his career.
The show, created and produced by Nat Hiken, always took Bilko's scheming right to the edge of a moral dilemma, but the con-artist's conscious always overpowered his greed. Hiken, who went on to produce NBC's CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU? , was supported behind the scenes, by two accomplished video veterans, Aaron Ruben (Your Show of Shows, The Andy Griffith Show) and Edward J. Montaigne ( McHale's Navy).
Young comedy writers were desperate to work on The Phil Silvers Show, vying for the chance to create high velocity laughs born of the intricate scams Bilko would perpetrate every week.Even though the series was set in Kansas, it was written and produced in Manhattan.Bilko offered All-American, Army Camp comedy with a New York accent.
The show had an agile,adept ensemble cast including, sitcom stalwarts, Harvey Lembeck and Allan Melvin, plus disheveled Maurice Gosfeld as bellicose Pvt. Wayne Doberman, a sad sack incarnate.Paul Ford played Bilko's Boss, the dour and dyspeptic,Col. Hall.There were early guest performances by Dick Van Dyke and George Kennedy.
The show, actually beat Milton Berle's Tuesday night, video variety show in the national ratings. Watching Berle ,an old friend of Silvers, on NBC-TV was ritual viewing for millions of Americans. Bilko ran until September 1959 on the Tiffany Network.
It wasn't a loss of audience that ended the run of EMMY award winning show, but the financial weight of a show with so-large a cast, plus the fatigue of Silvers and the producers, who had to maintain high quality, high energy comedy for 39 weeks, every TV season.
Below, we've posted three clips which constitute the debut episode of THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW. Keep scrolling down and you'll find bonus excerpts of two musical /variety specials Phil Silvers did for CBS-TV, in which he again portrayed Ernie Bilko. Enjoy!!!!!
THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW:YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH - CBS-TV - SEPTEMBER 20, 1955 - SERIES DEBUT - PART ONE
THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW:YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH - CBS-TV - SEPTEMBER 20, 1955 - SERIES DEBUT - PART TWO
THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW:YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH - CBS-TV - SEPTEMBER 20, 1955 - SERIES DEBUT - PART THREE
BILKO ON BROADWAY - CBS-TV - MAY 13, 1958
KEEP IN STEP - CBS-TV - JANUARY 23, 1959